The Congress is gearing up to demonstrate a political show of strength on Monday when the party leader Rahul Gandhi will appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection in connection with a money laundering case linked to the National Herald newspaper. Congress is planning a big event to show its strength and convey its political message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government.
The ED on Friday issued a fresh summons to Sonia Gandhi asking her to appear on June 23 for questioning in connection with the National Herald money laundering case. According to sources, Congress MPs, and Congress Working Committee (CWC) members have also been asked to be present in Delhi on Monday.
A meeting of All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretaries, State Incharges, and Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chiefs was called on Thursday to decide the strategy for the same. Congress leader Manickam Tagore said that party workers will hold demonstrations at around 25 offices of the probe agency across the country against the political vendata and the “misuse” of the central investigative agencies by the Central government to “silence the voice of opposition”.
Congress held press conferences across the country today over summons issued against party president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi by ED in the National Herald case. A senior party leader told ANI, “All the Members of Parliament have been asked to be present in the national capital on June 13, and they will also be marching towards the ED Office along with Rahul Gandhi. The meeting was called to discuss and take a view of the leaders across the country to take a final call on this as there is another view that along with Delhi, simultaneously, protests should be held in every state capital by the Pradesh Congress Committees.”
Rahul Gandhi has been summoned to join the investigation on June 13. He was earlier summoned to join the investigation but he was out of the country and later he was given a fresh date of June 13 to join the probe.
Meanwhile, the Congress party has alleged that it is a “political vendetta” and the case has no grounds for investigation. The ED also questioned senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Congress Treasurer Pawan Bansal in April this year in New Delhi in connection with its money laundering probe into the National Herald case.
The agency then recorded the statements of both the Congress leaders under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The National Herald is published by Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and owned by Young Indian Private Limited (YIL). While Kharge is the CEO of YIL, Bansal is the Managing Director of AJL. The ED is currently investigating the shareholding pattern and financial transactions as well as the role of party functionaries in the functioning of the AJL and YIL.The YIL promoters include Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.BJP MP Subramanian Swamy had alleged that the Gandhis cheated and misappropriated funds, with YIL paying only Rs 50 lakh to obtain the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore that AJL owed to the Congress.
He had filed a complaint with a Delhi court earlier. Following the court taking cognizance of an Income Tax Department probe against YIL on Swamy’s petition, the ED also registered a fresh case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).